Interesting analysis Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt, Ph.D. The Obama economic team wants to perform a grand experiment by utilizing massive fiscal spending to get us our of this depression. The US tax payer will be on the short end of this.
Fiscal stimulus will not work well, and may even be counterproductive, and this applies to both spending programs and to certain tax programs as well. One of the major problems on the expenditure side is that the government sector is smaller than the private sector.
The only really viable option for federal stimulus is a permanent reduction in the marginal tax rates, as highlighted in the research of Christina Romer, incoming Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. This would have the benefit of raising after tax rates of return, but the drawback in the short run of still having to be financed by an increased budget deficit. Over time, a massive reduction in marginal tax rates would be beneficial, but the operative word is time.
With consumers confronting such hostile wealth and income prospects, the saving rate is likely to rise sharply as it did after the Great Depression and, excluding the distortions created by World War II, continued to do for a half century. If the deflation now apparent in specific sectors of the economy spreads, the rise in the saving rate is likely to continue for a very long time. In the past, debt deflations have caused consumers to avoid at all cost the pattern of living beyond their means. Thus, the rising saving rate will constitute a major headwind for the U.S. economy.
As the experience from U.S. and Japanese history indicates, many "false dawns" will occur, with investors assuming that the long-delayed cyclical recovery in economic activity is at hand.